A movie deemed scandalous nearly four decades ago after Canadian censors uncovered, so to speak, the nude hippie sex romp on late night television and put the bare fare to bed for the duration, The Apprentice (Fleur Bleue) is now in release in a Special Edition unrated DVD. What has been restored in the 1971 mixed French and English likewise multi-mixed genre free love political separatist romantic comedy crime caper, are then twenty-four year old Susan Sarandon’s fairly naughty bare-breasted sex scenes.
In a role that might make a now more seasoned and serious sixty-two year old Sarandon either blush or palpitate, she plays Elizabeth, a ditzy, uninhibited English Canadian Montreal model with a weakness for one night stands. When aimless young French Canadian Jean-Pierre (Steve Fiset) gets canned for acute attention deficit disorder while on a day job at Elizabeth’s outdoor shoot, she takes pity on the itinerant slacker and pursues him. That is, until he pursues her, and then she usually barely remembers him while more often than not, out cruising around for more sublime adventures in free love stranger sex.
Eventually the two hook up, well sort of. Aside from Liz’s addiction to sexual variety, Jean-Pierre has a fetching, politically argumentative Separatist fiance Suzanne (Carol Laure), who may or may not be a virgin until marriage, stashed away in a shabby rooming house. Chronically short on funds, Jean-Pierre teams up with Suzanne’s lunatic playboy brother Dock (Jean-Pierre Cartier) to rob banks in imaginative and astonishing ways. And while Jean-Pierre stresses out deciding between these two women, Elizabeth in contrast hasn’t the least difficulty giddily sampling everybody, and not necessarily one at a time.
Frequently too silly for its own good, The Apprentice is an engaging time travel retro-novelty back to when life, no matter how complicated, was far simpler, without the intrusion of rampant commerce, congestion and advertising, not to mention cell phones. And despite the fretting, perpetually strapped for cash male protagonists, the prices of those flashy mod outfits back then that drive them to a life of crime, amaze as mere pocket change today.
2 1/2 stars
DVD Features: Director’s Commentary; Slide Show; Biography.